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w00dy

Original Poster:

906 posts

125 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2005 quote quote all
I'm a big fan of billies and have always used them for any of my cars other than minis. I did have a mini set once but never fitted.

Its a rarity to see anyone using them on a mini, any ideas why? I dont rate any of the twin tube damper i've tried for various reasons, and i see few other ways of going at a reasonable budget than bilsteins - even though they've went up £18 each in 3 years! I'd like a fairly supple but very well damped set-up (one reason i dont like the usual mini options) which billies tend to deliver. The car's currently on (and was bought with) KYB gas-adjusts, which dont exactly suit my wishes.

On a similar vein, has any one any experience of protech shocks and coilovers? I'm lead to beleive the internals are based on an older nitron design, and that they are a quality product for the money. Again i've yet to find anyone who uses them eiother as stand alone shocks or coilovers.

At this moment in time i'm really trying to weigh up the bilsteins with a red dot road/rally cone and hi-lo's Vs a set of protech coilovers (£450 Vs £430 respectivly, so money not an issue). My heart says stick with the cones; progressive spring rates and the trad set up. My head seems to think coilovers the way to go. I've been up 20 hours and done a night shift, i'm confused and i cant decide!

The mini i have runs 10x5's with S discs, and shall stay so. I've got all the adjustable camber and castor parts sitting just awaiting fitment - i know what geo i'm aiming for to begin with - and have a friend at work with corner weights et al to set the car up.

Thanks, woody.

fwdracer

3,300 posts

112 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2005 quote quote all
You are running a lightweight wheel set-up which is going to help for starters. The need for coil overs is increased with bloody great hefty 13" rims. Stick with Cones... it is a Mini after all!

I've had personal experience with Spax, Koni's and Avo's on cone/fast road set up. Koni's are great, but take lots of time to set up as you have to keep taking them on off car. They will give you the control/suppleness required. Lots of people just tend to set up a Mini rock hard and low, not realising that a wheel only provides grip when it is in contact with the road surface!

Avo's can achieve the same set-up, are a bit more expensive and can be adjusted on car. I race on them and can give no better recommendation.

W00DY

Original Poster:

906 posts

125 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2005 quote quote all
fwdracer said:
Lots of people just tend to set up a Mini rock hard and low, not realising that a wheel only provides grip when it is in contact with the road surface!


Exactly what i'm not after, though it will be a tad lower than std.

How would you compare the Avo's with spax? i'm led to beleive that, internally, they are very similar, which troubles me as i have an severe dislike of spax for multiple reasons, inc harshness poor damping finess and reliability.

Are you using the ordinary Avo's on your car?

I've also found 2nd hand remote ohlins at decent (but still fecking expensive) money. This is of course the prefered route, but maybe a bit much financially.

trackcar

6,453 posts

114 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2005 quote quote all
the protechs are stunning dampers .. i use a lot of them (on other cars, not done any minis yet) and rate them highly!

fwdracer

3,300 posts

112 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2005 quote quote all
I wouldn't even mention Spax in the same sentence as AVO's.

I'll get AVO Part No.s over the weekend - At work at the moment. The Ohlins are fantastic (Ask Peter Baldwin). It all depends on how much you want to spend.
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guru_1071

2,623 posts

122 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2005 quote quote all
agree with fwd

tho' these are my ideas

road car- run red spot cones (use gen minispares ones, not the 'bargain' copies they are not the same!) and kybs if you are lazy (i.e wont bother ever adjusting them). if you use it for track days stick gaz on. they are cheap (36ish each) and better if the car is lowered (my road car uses kyb and does bottom the shocks out occasionally - i just cant be assed to swop them!). if you use the gaz (which are a copy of cheaper avo's) remove the grubscrew that hold the adjuster knob on and locktight it, then tighten it back in. this comming loose is the only problem you will ever have with them.

race car- as above but use either the gaz or the avo. i use avo and find them very good, they both have similar ammount of 'clicks'

spax are crap, i wouldnt use them if they where given....

koni are a pain as they have to be removed to adjust them, though are a quality shock to use if you have a setting to set them to as a road shock.

coilovers - again not suitable for road use as they are very stiff. i wouldnt use them unless other modifcations forced my hand. if i where to use them on a race car it would only be with a well modded car.

unless you are at the very sharp end of a very competative motorsport championship i reckon that the gaz or cheaper avos are all that you will ever need

eccles

8,601 posts

110 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2005 quote quote all
i've used lowered gaz on a road car, and was very impressed, so much so i fitted a set to the front of my mates hillclmb car. on the back of that car we're running AVO coilovers, and they are brilliant, and respond well to the odd tweek here and there as conditions dictate.

flat6

476 posts

143 months

[news] 
Wednesday 7th December 2005 quote quote all
fwdracer said:
I wouldn't even mention Spax in the same sentence as AVO's.



Agreed. I ran Spax on 3 different road cars, and a hillclimber. When I rebuilt my 66 "S" I fitted lowered AVOs and was astonished at the difference in wheel control. Fantastic dampers and in a different league from Spax. Fit them and never look back.

Cooperman

4,100 posts

138 months

[news] 
Thursday 8th December 2005 quote quote all
It's strange that there seems to be this anti-SPAX feeling. I used a set of SPAX on my '64 Historic car and it did 15 hard rallies front pair and 29 on the back pair. In fact they are still on a friend's road Mini. On my black 1991 Enduro Rally Mini in which I did the RAC Revival last year I used new SPAX all round and it did the entire event with no damper problems at all. In fact I actually sheared the lower damper pin on one stage without damage to the damper itself. All I had to do was to increase the stiffness once during the event by one click on the front. That was one tough event as well.
I have not tried AVO's, but I think I'll give them a try next time I change.
Konis work on the principle of soft on bump and stiff on rebound, which is, of course, useless for rough roads as the suspension goes down on bump and is then slow to return, by which time you've hit the next bump and it goes down onto the bump stops. It's hard to steer with the suspension on the stops. The more you stiffen a Koni the worse this problem becomes and to stiffen it is not something you can do as you wait to start a test, as you can with most of the others.
I do agree, however, that SPAX are not so good with their struts as they work on the Koni principle and I broke a pair on my Rover 214Si in 2 hours on a rough rally recently. The bending stresses on McPherson struts are not suited to the SPAX design. I now use KYB's on that car with 220 lbs/inch spring rate.

trackcar

6,453 posts

114 months

[news] 
Thursday 8th December 2005 quote quote all
Interestingly, Spax read the forums here so might be along to offer some words.

Cooperman

4,100 posts

138 months

[news] 
Thursday 8th December 2005 quote quote all
I can only repeat that in many years of hard rallying in Minis, always using SPAX, I have never had a single failure, but I have had some good results both on smooth tarmac and rough gravel/forest roads. I can't really ask more than that.
In fact, SPAX are currently re-engineering some struts for my Rover 214 Si and are most helpful on the technical side.

Plotloss

67,262 posts

158 months

[news] 
Thursday 8th December 2005 quote quote all
I use Gaz coilovers.

They've been great I have to say, look lovely too.

guru_1071

2,623 posts

122 months

[news] 
Friday 9th December 2005 quote quote all
im unimpressed with spax for the following reasons.

we used to sell loads at work, and i guess kept about 20 of each (i.e std front, std rear, low front, low rear) they used to leak so much oil that the boxes rotted and the shockers would fall off the shelfs (ocasionally setting the alarm off in the middle of the night! grrr!!!). it got so bad that we had to move them on to the floor. spax claimed that it was 'build oil'. no other shockers do this.

we had to use these on the mighty minis for the first couple of years and where very unimpressed with the quality and variences in adjustment. the final straw for us was when on of the rears fell apart in use (on the road) and very nearly caused a nasty accident.

to be fair, they do seem to have got a bit better in recent years, but the damage has been done. we sell maybe 1 pair a month now.

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